The Good News

Welcome to The Good News Blogspot! The Good News is real and alive in my own life. Jesus has fulfilled in my life His promise of fuller and more abundant life (John 15), a quality of life I could not have created for myself. I invite you to share experiences with me so we can all grow into the life He offers us all.

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Catholic by call, Jesuit by nature, a preacher/spiritual conversation partner by choice. Learning about getting older, learning to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Learning to let go and laugh.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Church a Man Can Love

The cover of the April 3, 2007 The Christian Century announces an article entitled “Why Men Say No to Church,” a review of Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow. Murrow, according to Lillian Daniel, the reviewer and senior minister at the First Congregational Church (UCC) in Glen Ellyn, IL, thinks that church culture in general and worship in particular have been feminized. In Daniel’s characterization, “A chick-flick atmosphere prevails on Sunday mornings, complete with flowers, ferns and soft music, all geared toward women’s desires for safety, security, and harmonious relationships.”

Murrow opposes this new reality: “Women must humble themselves, pray and allow the men of the church to lead the body toward an adventure…Will you allow men to take risks, dream big, and push the envelope with your local church? God made men for adventure, achievement, and challenge, and if they can’t find those things in church, they’re going to find them somewhere else.” “Somewhere else,” according to Daniel, seems to be the movies, the local bar, sports events, TV, and perhaps worse.

So, what, precisely, characterizes Murrow’s remasculinzed church? Much depends, I think, on what Murrow calls the “adventure” God made men for. Do I seek adventure because in finding it I feel powerful, in-control, authoritative, self-satisfied? Or, is the goal outside myself – justice done, people liberated, human flourishing sparked?

Church at its best – religion at its best – embodies as its central premise that God calls his followers to move outside themselves in service, a move ironically that brings the follower back to herself in affirmation and fullness of life. My fear is that the men whom Murrow defends seek “adventure” that makes them feel powerful, in-control, authoritative, and so on.

Who would Murrow’s manly men hold up us their heroes and role models? John Wayne in The Quiet Man? The English kings that conquered the Welsh in the 13th century, the Irish in the 15th Century, and the Scots in the 18th Century? The English kings who tried to conquer and control French for three hundred years for no reason other than conquest?

I keep asking myself, What was accomplished by all that warfare? Was their a value outside and beyond the men involved, in particular, the leaders involved?

And, I ask myself, why should women and the feminine be disparaged because they – I – see this fighting as having no value because the fighting destroys much and produces little. Or, more precisely, the fighting produces nothing beyond the self-satisfaction of the leaders and destroys life and livelihood of those who are the raw material of the fighting.

Have Murrow and his men seen Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ? Is what happens to Jesus of Nazareth no less masculine a fate than, say, William Wallace’s, portrayed in Braveheart by Mel Gibson? Jesus lived a life of great risk. Was this not enough risk for today’s manly men? Was Jesus a girlie-man who defended no more than values of housekeeping and family?

Jesus’ life cost him the persecution Gibson portrays in his movie, and Jesus’ goal was not his own sense of being a manly man, a love of excitement and thrill. Its goal was human liberation, fullness of life, and complete joy.

The reviewer notes that “Murrow is right to point out that when our top prayer request is ‘God, keep us safe. Keep our kids safe. Watch over us and protect us,’ we are not being faithful to the fullness of the gospel and the cost of discipleship…In Murrow’s world it’s not only the men who are slighted when the church becomes too safe.” She concludes the review: “Surely there are ways of being a godly man that do not involve kicking ass. The cross stands out as one.”


Anonymous KellyWilson said...

No Happy Birthday to Razi. I guess youll have to settle for my tribute to him, focusing mostly on his emerging status as a Fashion Icon.
Anyway, very interesting post you have here.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

I agree that the Church has become overly -feminized, but it has nothing to do with the lyrics to the has everything to do with rejection of tradtion, lead by radical feminists.

Ironically, the radical feminists have put Mary, our true role model, into the back seat, instead choosing to seek power in the form of "ordination" and their misguided sense of "participation" stemming from their misreading and misinterpretation of Vatican II documents.

The Church has actually been stripped of her feminine nature, which has resulted in the mass exodus of many worshippers. Men who are Marian remain and become involved as defenders of the feminine, which is what they are wired to be. But when the feminine mystery is stripped from the Church, what is left to defend? Where is the honor and the beauty?

These are strong words, but radical feminism has raped the Church just as they have raped the culture by perpetuating death and destruction to true feminine roles to the very destruction of our children, and this false ideology has left us bereft. Is there any surprise, then, that men are not engaging in worship?

What is needed is a true renewal, a return to our traditions (I'm not speaking of widespread Tridentine indult Masses), our embrace of our history, our utilization of the prayers of the Church which go back for millenia.

We need to truly re-feminize the Church, get rid of all the innovation and New-Ageyness that has permeated many ligurgies, bring back true liturgical music and prayers....and then the men will embrace what it means to be men, what it means to defend the honor of the Church, what it means to stand up before the culture and proclaim the kingdom.

10:17 PM  
Blogger MICHAEL said...

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace be With You

11:33 AM  

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